Actress Kristen Johnston is battling the rare autoimmune disease lupus myelitis. Johnston, 46, opened up about her illness on Facebook Dec. 17, writing:
"I've been really, really sick since early Sept. Full body muscle weakness to the extent that just walking [is] difficult, stairs impossible, and I even need a neck brace to hold my head up."
Lupus myelitis, a neurological disorder, is a rare form of lupus marked by severe inflammation of the spinal cord. There's no known cause or cure for lupus myelitis, but getting enough rest and eating well are crucial.
Johnston said she received her diagnosis after seeing 17 different doctors over the course of four months. In November 2013, Kristen spent two weeks at the Mayo Clinic, where doctors finally diagnosed her with lupus myelitis and began treating her.
Johnston is doing better now after a horrible past few months. "My immune system has decided to go rogue and attack my muscles," she said. "The good news: I'm finally on the right treatment, feeling better and back at work!"
Kristen, who previously battled alcohol addiction, asked fans not to bombard her with advice about the latest trendy "miracle cure" for her lupus.
"The best way you could help me is not to ask me how I am or tell me about the radish diet cure-all or the like," she said. "'My cousin ate only radishes for six months and it really worked!' isn't really most helpful to me right now."
Johnston isn't the celebrity who has gone public about coping with lupus. In 2010, Lady Gaga revealed she tested "borderline positive" for lupus, which she manages through stress reduction, a healthy diet and rigorous workouts. Gaga said she has a genetic predisposition toward lupus, and said her aunt died from it.
In 2012, singer Toni Braxton was hospitalized for health complications related to lupus-induced blood clots. She is doing fine now.
In 2011 and again in 2012, Nick Cannon (the husband of Mariah Carey) was hospitalized for kidney failure and other complications related to lupus nephritis. Cannon is now doing better after scaling back his hectic work schedule.
In December 2013, reports surfaced that Selena Gomez is battling lupus, which caused her to cancel the Asian and Australian leg of her tour.